For a city which boasts one of the most esteemed dance music events in Europe with Sonar, an internationally renowned nightclub in Razzmatazz and close proximity to Europe's island hub of house; Ibiza the relative dearth of electronic music making its way out of Barcelona is nothing short of surprising. Hoping to change this and make the Catalonian capital a go to spot for listeners of house music as well as club goers is France born, Barcelona based DJ/Producer Vincent Abbo. Coming with a degree from the School of Audio Engineering, his productions are layered and detailed with the kind of detail and nous one would expect from such a background, yet refreshingly there is also an artistry and personality sometimes lacking in the tech-house genre. Tantalisingly close to making his first release, we caught up with Abbo to pick his brain on his music and the city he lives in-before the hype machine kicks into gear.
You're on the verge of releasing your music in to the wider world for the first time-why has the time finally come what hopes do you have for these releases? After many years playing records I realized that something was missing, I started to need another kind of feeling to fulfill my musical needs. With this new project I believe I'll finally get to express myself in another and more complete artistic way, which I hope will be a new start somehow.
Locally famous as a DJ in Barcelona, for those that haven't had the pleasure, what kind of tunes and atmosphere do you bring to the party? Mainly deep-house and tech-house depending on the club and the vibe I feel arriving at one or another place. In Barcelona you can play in clubs, at the beach, rooftop parties, and for me it changes everything, the perception is different. I generally love to mix for several hours, making of those sessions a story and not a simple 1 or 2 hours mix throwing big hits all the way long. That's one the thing that makes the beach or more generally "open-air stages" like Kiesrgübe, where I recorded this podcast at the end of May, are so attractive, you can really play what you feel, people are more receptive.
How has your ten years of DJ'ing experience in Barcelona and around the continent informed what you are trying to achieve as a producer?Indeed it's been 13 years since I first played in a club, everything seems to be so far away now. There's no doubt about the fact that every person or artist I met, every place I've been to, have influenced my conception of the music both as a dj and a producer. You can learn from everybody, anytime, so open your mind and pay attention to everything happening around you.
The parties you have organized with 'Tape' have seen the likes of Deetron, Dan Ghenacia and Jef K come through to play. Is this kind of techno influenced house music, the sound you lean towards when producing your own music-or do you seek inspiration from further afield? All the artists we've booked for the Tape parties were mainly good friends, but also artists we really like as dj's and producers. That was the idea, gathering all the family plus some other artists, put it in the shaker and let the magic happen. About my inspiration, I think it comes from everywhere, but mainly from music, old school tracks not necessarily from electronic music but jazz, blues, funk … every kind of noise that inspires you in the right moment. The funny thing is that the inspiration generally comes to you when least expect like under the shower or walking in the streets, so you better keep on singing what came through you mind at that moment so you get to the studio and don't forget it.
You have a background as a qualified Sound Engineer and experience with several instruments, in an age of self taught bedroom producers, how important do you feel the kind of musical knowledge you have is when producing electronic music? It's very important about the way you build your ideas. I know a lot of people who do not play any instruments and have very good ideas but don't know how to write them down when they get on the keyboard or in front of the computer screen. I've been in that situation too. So yes, this kind of musical knowledge is, for me, necessary. Obviously you can learn things on your own tripping out with your machines and computer, trying to discover and understand what you're doing.
Does your background in the technical side of sound engineering find you making use of analog equipment or is this a thing of the past? To be honest I'm not using a lot yet but I'm really looking forward to be able to set-up a real analog studio as soon as possible. I love the way machines sound but you also have to afford the price, so I'll be building my sanctuary step by step. It's true that digital is cheaper but as a vinyl lover I could apply the same analogy between analog/digital and vinyl/mp3. About if it's a thing of the past ? I don't think so. Actually a lot of artists around me are still looking for both old and new analog equipment, also as other producers who prefer producing only digital but who are still making amazing music. It depends on you and what you really prefer.
You were born and raised in France, what inspired the decision to move to Barcelona, and how have you found the music scene and the city itself? Back in the days I remember myself looking for new purposes, I was stuck in the daily routine, losing my inspiration and that's why I decided to move forward. At this time a very good friend of mine was living in Barcelona and I decided to go there for two weeks and see what happen. Well, as you can see, I'm still here, I love this city and its varied scene. I really quickly adapted myself to spanish and started to work with one of the biggest promoters here, Raum, also the organizer of East Ender Festival, so yeah, it's been quite a nice start. Barcelona is also a very productive nest to me, when you know that such amazing artists as Audiofly, Davide Squillace, Dubfire, Jonny White, Luca Bacchetti, Fur Coat, Robbie Akbal, Funk'D'Void to name a few, are living here.
Over the past few years Sonar has developed beyond the festival itself in to a sprawling range of highly anticipated parties all around the city, how healthy is such an event for an up and coming producer such as yourself and the local scene in general? Things have changed a lot since I arrived here almost six years ago. At that time Sonar was happening over 3 days. Now the party starts 2 days before and ends 3 days after, extending the party outside of Barcelona. A real marathon for those who are trying to go to most of the parties. I think it's a good thing for both local and international dj's because everybody can be part of it, from small underground parties to big labels showcases, afters, festivals. The only negative note to this is the police getting crazy and trying, every year harder, to shut down many parties even big events.
Alongside yourself, what other producers should people watch out for in Barcelona at the moment? There are quite good producers like my very good friends Paul Loraine (Four:Twenty, Soma), or Mirus with his Sassafras "crew" and his label Indigo Raw, Pedro Bucarelli (Elektro System Records) Rainer from the Half-Baked crew and Desolat, Andre Buljat and "4Line records", Maurice Aymard with his "Galaktika records". In another kind of music, more "gangsta-house" you have all the Digital Delight crew with amazing guys like Miguel Puente, Sishi Rösch, Lee Webster (and quite a lot more)
And finally, is there anywhere in Barcelona that you would recommend for visiting clubbers looking for something a little bit different? They should go to a new "party" that started last week and that is taking place in Montjuïc, called "Piknic Electronik", it's open air, with international and local bookings, very cheap, no age limits, every sunday afternoon of july and september with guests such as, doP, Dj Sneak, Frivolous, Dj Koze , and many more. There's also Mac Arena Mar, which is the beach extension of the famous club Macarena open every day with different music concepts but always full of people and good energy during the summer… Don't forget to check for some rooftop/swimming pool parties which are generally amazing. Hope you'll enjoy it !
Listen to Vincent Abbo on Pulse Radio
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